Students with covid can sit exams this summer provided they test negative on days three and four
Students who test positive for coronavirus will be able to sit their exams this summer if they can provide a negative test on days three and four.
This year is the first time that formal end of year examinations have taken place for college and secondary school students since 2019.
Throughout the pandemic GCSE and AS/A Level grades were decided via teacher-managed assessments that were externally set and marked, but delivered within a classroom environment under teacher supervision.
This summer exams will cover less material “to reflect the reduced teaching time many students have experienced.”
However there are concerns about the impact on young people’s learning after two years of covid measures and long periods of self-isolation.
In February Children’s Commissioner Professor Sally Holland said a “major effort” is needed to ensure that students have all the information, advice and support they need ahead of the exams.
She warned of a “huge challenging” facing schools and colleges despite the adjustments that have made been made to exams.
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon Education Minister Jeremy Miles moved to reassure students, parents and teachers of the exam set-up this summer.
He said that discussions have taken place that would allow students who have tested positive for coronavirus to sit their exams provided they have a negative test on day and three four.
The WJEC exam board have also designed the timetable to schedule exams 10 days apart.
Mask wearing will also be recommended entering and leaving the exam hall and social distancing will be encouraged.
Mr Miles said: “Throughout the pandemic I’ve been struck by the resilience of our young people.
“Dealing with the ups and downs of the pandemic has increased the pressure young people feel about exams, about qualifications and there’s no doubt about that.
“I want to reassure you that this year’s exams have been designed to be as fair as possible and to take into account the disruption that you’ve faced due to the pandemic.
“We want to enable learners to take their exams well and safely. The Minister for health and I have agreed an exception for those who have recently tested positive but who feel well enough to sit their exam.
“Learners who are due to sit an exam can start testing on day three and four of their isolation period. If both tests are negative and if they feel well enough, they may sit their exam from day four after the initial positive test.
“WJEC have designed the exam timetable to schedule exams 10 days apart so that an individual learner who tests positive for COVID 19 will only miss one component of their qualification. WJEC will be publishing guidance imminently including on special considerations.
“It’s critical that we work together to enable young people to know their choices and to feel confident.”
The education minister also outlined additional support for disadvantaged learners, with funding being made available to cover the cost of any exam appeals.
Free school meal data will also be shared with UCAS in a bid to “widen access to university for disadvantaged young people” during clearing.
Mr Miles added: “The Welsh Government has asked local authorities and further education colleges to come together to ensure that the young people who they know are most in need are receiving bespoke personalised support to enable them to transition to the next steps.
“We can be immensely proud of your efforts as learners and as staff over the last year. And as a government, we will continue to do all that we can to support you.”
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